“Don’t Be an Eddie”
One of my favorite movies, especially at Christmas time, is “Christmas Vacation”. We laugh about that movie, but there are some really serious points in the movie. Maybe you remember this scene, and even if you don’t, I think you’ll identify with it. It goes like this:
Clark: “How can they have nothing for their children?”
Ellen: “Well, he’s been out of work for close to seven years.”
Clark: “In seven years, he couldn’t find a job?”
Ellen: “Catherine says he’s been holding out for a management position.”
You probably know someone that you can insert into that story line. The idea of trying to get ahead without ever starting, isn’t a new one. Proverbs 12:9 is pretty clear this isn’t a new concept.
Ann Landers stated that, “Opportunities are often disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”
Solomon wrote, “it is better to be ordinary and work for a living than to act important and starve in the process.” Another translation of that verse reads, “He that is despised and is a servant.” There is nothing wrong with giving an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. No matter where you find yourself in this life, if you are working, laboring and carving out a living, then you are truly following the word of God. Wherever you find yourself working, give it your best. Look at what Colossians 3:22-25 states.
“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.”
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Col 3:22–25). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
I can tell you that God uses the person that knows how to work. So often, I hear “I want to work in full-time ministry or I want to get into ministry”. I am quick to say “ministry is hard work, look at the Cross.” The calling of a pastor is to equip the people for the WORK of the ministry. God uses people that know how to work.
It was when Moses was tending his father-in-law’s sheep that God appeared to Him in the burning bush (Exodus 3).
It was when Elisha was plowing that Elijah cast the mantle of ministry upon him (1 Kings 19:19).
It was when Peter and Andrew were casting their nets that Jesus called them to be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).
It was when Saul was working for the high priest on his way to Damascus that Jesus appeared to him and turned his life around (Acts 9).
If you want to be used by God, or if you desire to move up in this life, it will happen while you are working. You have to work at everything. Someone once told me that Jesus delivered them from all that works stuff. They took it both spiritually and literally, meaning they didn’t have to work for anything. However, on that day, the purpose of the conversation was because they needed assistance and they were asking for my help. They were willing to live off everyone else’s hard work. That is the epitome of this verse in Proverbs 12:9. They believed that God’s grace exempted them from ever having to put forth any effort in this life. They didn’t realize it, but their belief of “grace delivering them from working”, placed them in the role of a beggar. The Bible reminds us that “I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed begging for bread”.I do not work for righteousness, nor do I work for grace. I work because of love!
So, don’t be an Eddie! Walk through the doors that are open to you, and then God can open more doors for you. Once you start, remind yourself of these words in Ecclesiastes…
8 Endings are better than beginnings.
Sticking to it is better than standing out.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Ec 7:7–8). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.